Efforts to eradicate female genital circumcision in West Africa have taken a step forward with a fatwa against the practice in Mauritania and sanctions in Niger against mothers who subject their daughters to it. Known also as female genital mutilation (FGM), the tradition involves removing external parts of a girl's genitals and sometimes narrowing the vaginal opening. Bleeding, disease and problems in urinating and childbirth can result for millions of victims each year in Africa and the Middle East.
More than two-thirds of African countries have laws criminalizing homosexual acts, and despite accounting for a significant percentage of new infections in many countries, men who have sex with men tend to be left out of the HIV response. "[They] are going underground; they are hiding themselves and continuing to fuel the epidemic," UNAIDS executive director Michél Sidibé told IRIN/PlusNews recently. "We need to make sure these vulnerable groups have the same rights everyone enjoys: access to information, care and prevention for them and their families." IRIN/PlusNews has compiled a short list of human rights violations against gay Africans:
‘Si nous ne nous décidons pas à agir, nous ne cesserons de payer les conséquences. Le cas de la récente lapidation d’une femme par son mari dans le quartier populaire de Yeumbeul en est la preuve’, souligne Codou Bop.
International AIDS organisations have condemned the imprisonment of nine Senegalese AIDS activists for their sexual orientation, saying it threatens to reverse gains made in Senegal's fight against HIV.